For the first time in the Championship this season, the Pars have gone 2 games undefeated and in doing so today achieved a first clean sheet of the League season. A defensively sound performance, but for anyone looking for an entertaining game of football, this would be rated as a disappointment.
Sean Murdoch looked back to his usual self after making his return from injury in the previous League game last week. He was alert when required, turning over a couple of good efforts and also saving a few hopeful long range shots. In front of him, Lee Ashcroft (pictured above) marshalled the defence and was rock solid alongside the ever-reliable Lewis Martin. Jason Talbot had another very good game and Ryan Williamson attempted several runs forward but was tentative whenever he reached the Ayr penalty box.
The loss of John Herron to injury after 18 minutes undoubtedly had an impact on the team's performance. Although Herron's replacement, Rhys McCabe, had one of his better games, he did not give the team the drive from midfield that Herron showed last week. Meanwhile, Andy Geggan had another poor game and is only in the team on past reputation at this stage. Michael Paton was good in spells on the right wing, but Joe Cardle had a frustrating afternoon, capped by a disallowed goal in the 62nd minute, due to an apparent foul by Farid El Alagui when laying the ball off to Cardle to shoot home.
In attack, Gavin Reilly lacks confidence and failed to capitalise on the opportunities presented to him. His best chance was when facing Ayr keeper Greg Fleming when his low shot was saved by the Ayr keeper. Nicky Clark (pictured below) had to be substituted in the 34th minute due to a groin strain, replaced by El Alagui.
As the game went on, and play became even more fragmented and disjointed, goal attempts became more hopeful rather than chiselled out through good built up play. Ayr sub Paul Cairney had perhaps the best chance but was denied by a great blocking tackle from Jason Talbot.
As always, the DAFC official site gives a detailed match report, while on this independent blog the report mixes some of the more significant moments with an opinion on the team and individual players' performance. Safe to say, this is not a game that will linger long in the memory, but a point and a clean sheet meant that it was not without some value.
Pars player ratings (Michael Moffat replaced Reilly with 10 minutes remaining: no ratings for appearances under 45 minutes):
Photos by Pars Review.
A full match photo gallery will be posted tomorrow.